Aeon Flux

Kept from critics for good reason.

Sometimes when critics are not given a screening before release, it's a signal that the producers believe they have a loser and would prefer to maximize their profits on the first weekend before word gets out. Such is the case with Aeon Flux, a sci-fi adaptation more interested in replicating Robocops and Storm Troopers from previous winners than exploring topics such as cloning and reincarnation, both of which are a part of the plot but not adequately developed.

Those remaining of a diseased population in 2415 are bothered by strange dreams, tyrannized by a government of scientists, and waiting to be liberated by rebels named Monicans. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is a super operative Monican sent to assassinate the government's chairman, Trevor Goodchild (Martin Csokas).

More than questions of philosophy, sociology, or theology, often the staple of sci-fi, the film unwittingly brings up topics such as why Oscar-winning actresses Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand (as Handler, the head of the Monicans) would take on these roles. I suspect Theron of thinking she could franchise just as Angelina Jolie did with Lara Croft (Her role is more like Halle Berry's reviled Catwoman); McDormand must have savored the idea of wearing a red fright wig that looks like the matted headgear of Frankenstein's bride.

Aeon Flux has all the requisite characteristics of a film kept from critics: broadly pontificating, inane conversation; crippled thematic ideas; and grotesque costuming. Pete Postlehwaite's Keeper's final costume is so bizarre that it must have had a previous life in a porno flick where catching liquids is a matter of the widest bucket collar. Better however is his ponderous line, "I've been waiting 400 years for this day," which pretty much describes the feeling of a critic for whom professional ethics demands that he wait until the end credits to bolt for fear he might be stranded in trashy movie flux forever as punishment.